Saturday’s email included one from Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire who concluded with “Lots of love, Mairead” and as we read her; we recalled this quote attributed to Jimi Hendrix:
When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.
Mairead’s email contained:
PRESENTATION TO NOBEL SUMMIT, ROME, ITALY
12TH DECEMBER, 2014; by Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate
APPEAL TO HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO REPLACE JUST WAR THEORY WITH THEOLOGY OF PEACE, NONKILLING, AND NONVIOLENCE
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It is particularly appropriate that we are gathered here around International Human Rights Day and our theme is Peace and Living It. I believe that Peace is a Human Right for everyone, and its presence is necessary in order to protect and sustain all the other rights enshrined in the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I am sure we can agree that although we have a Universal Declaration, we have a long way to go to ensure that our Governments implement and uphold all these rights. In spite of this I am full of hope because I believe that we, the human family, are at a turning point in history.
There is a new growing consciousness a fresh way of thinking and living, with many taking care of each other and of nature and re-acknowledging that the true spirit of humanity is to love and be loved. This evolutionary consciousness will be recorded in future history as the period when humanity chose to become the living embodiment of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guided in their actions by nonviolence, truth, love, and the choice not to kill.
However change is happening so quickly around us today that some are confused and uncertain as to how they should respond to the issues of aggression and injustice. Those who are caught in the midst of increasing violence and chaos can feel powerless and without control. Fearology, despair, and hopelessness, are fed by a daily diet of scenes on television, or actual lived reality, of human suffering resulting from violence, poverty and war.
More than anything people globally need to be given hope, they need to know others care and will help to both encourage and empower them in abandoning fear and in taking up their local and global responsibility to work for peace and reconciliation.
This year we remember the start of the First World War in l9l4 which commenced a century of two global wars, a Cold War, and a period through which we have witnessed, at great cost, the inexcusable expansion of deadly and destructive technologies and this arms race for military superiority is led by the USA today. The technological evolution is bringing closer the day of automated war. The US Department of Defence said a new era of automated war will be within 15 years. By then they believe war could be fought entirely using killer Robatic systems armed with advanced weapons. The Dept. of Defence report CNAS ‘Center for a new American Security – preparing for war in a Robatic Age’ sets out the Pentagons vision of future warfare and their Skynet programme which would automate wars. The advancement of ‘Artificial Intelligence’ and such projects as ‘Synthetic Genetically Laser-armed Prosthetic People’, takes war to a whole new level, and that is why we need to abolish militarism before it is too late.
War continues unabated up to the present day in spite of it being a negation and deprivation of all human rights, for life, liberty and property, and without any regard to the millions of citizens worldwide who have called upon their Governments to abolish militarism and war and solve their problems without killing human beings and destroying the countries and environments within which they reside.
The growing Peace Movement in the world today, of which we are all a part, can take hope from the peace vision of Alfred Nobel and Bertha Von Suttner who wrote ‘Lay Down your Arms’, and was the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Their vision of a disarmed demilitarized world was articulated very well by Nobel himself when he left his Nobel peace prize to those champions of peace who would work for the abolition of armies and fraternity amongst the nations. Nobel believed that the affairs of humans should be ruled by the force of law and not the law of force. Many people in Nobel’s time supported the Peace Movement which did not limit itself to civilizing and slowing down militarism, but demanded its total abolition.
To help us in this Global responsibility to save humanity from militarism and war, it will be necessary that we who share a common belief in the sanctity of life and the dignity of peoples join together in the spirit of Principal 13 of the Nobel Peace Laureates’ Charter for a World Without Violence, which calls “upon all to work together towards a just, killing-free world in which everyone has the right not to be killed and responsibility not to kill others’.
I believe today, if we want peace then we must be no less visionary or courageous than Nobel and Bertha. We must not be satisfied with improvements and reforms, but rather the total abolition of armies, nuclear weapons and war. Military power must be replaced with law and International relations and the use of traditional diplomacy rather than coercive diplomacy. We must work to rid the world of its enslavement to militarism thus freeing some of our best scientific minds and vast funds to the better service of humanity in dealing with the many threats to human security such as disease, climate change, competition over resources, and the marginalization experienced by most of the world’s population.
Our call is made all the more urgent when we see today that the decades old legacy of despair and suffering spread by western militarism in the Middle East and beyond has itself served as the breeding ground for conflict and radicalisation and has thus assisted in creating a self-perpetuating mechanism which feeds and sustains the military/industrial/media complex. To combat growing extremist forces in the Middle East, it is necessary to understand the cause.
It cannot be solved by the so-called ‘war on terror’ which itself has caused death and suffering and only feeds Islamophobia. Rather we must address the root causes, social, economic and political which have led to the rise of violent extremism and likewise acknowledge the way in which this extremism has for decades actually been instrumentalized to serve the geo-political ambitions of profligate princes and puerile politicians both East and West.
Sadly The European Union and many other countries are being drawn into situations where they become complicit in breaking international law through the perpetual wars of the US/UK/NATO. The list of Muslim countries which the Coalition of the willing has bombed or occupied since l980 has included many of the countries I have visited such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Bosnia and Syria, with Syria becoming at least the 14th country in the Islamic word that US/NATO forces have either invaded, occupied or bombed. In all of these countries I have witnessed needless suffering, death and destruction, and in all of these situations the problems could have been solved through dialogue and negotiation. I hope that in time the US/UK/NATO forces who caused such suffering will want to say ‘sorry’ for the death and destruction their foreign policies have caused to so many people.
Here, in Rome, conscious that we are meeting in one of the most important Christian centres in the World, I would like to address a message to HH the Pope. I thank Pope Francis for his love and work for the poor, his opposition to the death penalty, the crime of torture, and his recent inter faith initiative to end modern slavery.
However, I would like to make a special appeal to His Holiness Pope Francis to replace the ‘Just War’ Theory with a Theology of Peace, Nonkilling and Nonviolence. Our Christian roots are steeped in Jesus’s nonviolence and in the words of the late US Theologian Fr. John L. McKenzie, ‘you cannot read the scriptures and not know that Jesus was totally nonviolent’ and that the ‘just war theory is a phony piece of morality’. I believe there is a self-delusion at the heart of humanity which says we have a right to kill each other, the longstanding defect in our Christian just war theology feeds this myth of justified violence, militarism and war. How much the world needs a clear unambiguous message from Pope Francis, and all our World’s Spiritual Leaders, that violence is not the way, violence is never justified, violence is always wrong, and there are many ways of peaceful resistance to injustice as His Holiness pointed to with his call for a justice without revenge.
Western militarist geopolitics has proved a total failure, the destruction of countries and populations must end and we must assert that it is time to try another path. Genuine all inclusive, unconditional dialogue, including talking to Islamic state fighters, Taliban, etc., and all others using force of arms is the only way forward. As His Holiness has said in respect of the possibility of dialogue with such groups “Never close the door. It’s difficult, you could say almost impossible, but the door is always open.”
To help build such a peaceful, demilitarized world in which dialogue and diplomacy can replace violence the United Nations should actively take up its mandate to save the world from the scourge of war by rejecting militarism, abolishing NATO and upholding International Laws and Human Rights.
In seeking the UN to fulfill its mandate let us not forget to remind that body that a key to peace in the Middle East is an ending of the Israel military occupation of Palestine. This injustice and the failure of the United Nations to fully assert intentional law in this regard sits at the root of practically ever conflict and calamity the region has endured for the last 67 years.
I call for the full restoration of Palestinian Rights, an end to America’s obstruction of justice for Palestine within the United Nations and an end to that country’s funding of the Israeli occupation.
I hope that from the Nobel Peace Laureates and out of Rome; will come a bold and unambiguous rejection of all violence and a call for Peace, Justice, and a Universal abolition of nuclear weapons, militarism and war.
Nobel Peace Laureate www.peacepeople.com 12th December,2014 ###
PRESENTATION BY MAIREAD MAGUIRE AT THE FONDAZIONE PATRIZIO PAOLETTI AND COMUNE OF ASSISI
23RD NOVEMBER, 2014
PEACE AND A WORLD WITHOUT VIOLENCE, MILITARISM AND WAR IS POSSIBLE
I would like to thank the Fondazione Patrizio Paoletti and the Commune of Assisi for their kind invitation to be with you all.
It is a particular joy for my husband Jackie and myself, to be here in Assisi in the home of St. Francis and St. Clare, two great spirits, whose lives have inspired us, and millions of people around the world. St. Francis, a man of peace, and St. Clare, a woman of prayer, whose message of Love, compassion, care for humans, animals, and the environment, comes down through history to speak to us in a very relevant and inspirational way.
As we the human family today in the 2lst century, face increasing violence, we are challenged to admit, we are on the wrong path, and we need to find new ways of thinking, and doing things from a global perspective. We need urgently to move from our path of violence and destruction to a path of nonkilling, nonviolence and peacebuilding through disarmament.
Peace is a beautiful gift to have in life, and it is particularly treasured by those who have known violent conflict, war, famine, disease, poverty. I believe Peace is a basic human right for every individual and all people. War is a negation and deprivation of all human rights, for life, property, liberty, and should be abolished. Peace is possible and there are steps to peace, both inner and outer, which we can all take. However, if we don’t believe in peace, have a passion for peace, and work for peace, then how is the vision of Peace to be realized?
Love for others and respect for their rights and their human dignity, irrespective of who or what they are, no matter what religion, or none, they choose to follow, will bring about real change, and set in motion proper relationships. With such relationships built on equality, nonkilling and trust, we can work together on so many of the threats to our common humanity.
Poverty is one such threat and Pope Francis challenges us to take care of the poor, and declared his desire that the Catholic Church be a church of the poor and for the poor. To meet this challenge we can each ask ourselves ‘how will what I do today help the poor’?.
Pope Francis also has spoken about the need to build Fraternity amongst the Nations. I believe this is important as building trust amongst people and countries will help bring peace to our inter-dependent, inter-connected world. The virus of Ebola, which is bringing so much death and suffering to the people of West Africa, shows us how much we all need to work together to solve threats to humanity, such as disease, climate change, competition over resources, marginalization of the majority of the world, violence, global militarisation and war.
In confronting these threats and challenges to us all, we recognize no one person, no one country can deal alone with these problems, and as we each take Global Responsibility we are more able to deal together with these threats to humanity. We can also take hope from the fact there is a new consciousness growing that each human life is sacred, that all life and our environment needs to be protected and as science takes us beyond our wildest imagination into outer space, there is no limit to what we can achieve together. As science and reason, and wisdom, open up new possibilities and change we must do all we can to help make such advances through education available to everyone, and using the new digital technology to connect and build a peaceful world.
However, I believe that a block to a peaceful, a beautiful world, based on Love, Human Rights and International Law, is violence.
We are seeing increasing violence where the human being, animals, the environment are being abused, tortured, destroyed both by State and non-state actions and policies.
We are being so daily culturally conditioned to accept violence as a way of life that we are in danger of losing our common humanity. Violence starts in our minds and if we are to change then this is where we must begin. Whilst science and reason have given us many good things, in medicine, technology, etc., they have also given us nuclear weapons, and the ability to kill each other with armed drones, etc. show much we need to deepen our wisdom, compassion, love, in order to reject the military mind-sets which our cultures are feeding us every day through mass media, war propaganda, etc.
It is important to change many of our government policies, end militarism in all our countries, and build new institutions and structures, and I believe it is a peaceful spiritual/political revolution which will help turn us away from the road of militarism and war and onto a path of peace and nonviolence.
Violence begets violence as we witness every day on our television screens, so the choice between violence and nonviolence, is up to each one of us. However, if we in our education system, in our religious institutions, do not teach nonviolence, how can we make that choice? I believe that all faith traditions and secular societies need to work together and teach the way of nonviolence as a way of living, also as a Political science and means of bringing about social and political change wherever we live. A grave responsibility lies with the different Religious traditions to give Spiritual guidance and a clear message particularly on the questions of economic injustice, ‘armed resistance ‘ arms, militarism and war.
As a Christian living in a violent ethnic political conflict in Northern Ireland, and caught between the violence of the British army and Irish republican army, I was forced to confront myself with the question, do you ever kill? and is there such a thing as a just war?
During my spiritual journey I came to the absolute conviction that killing is wrong, and the just war theory is, in the words of the late Fr. John L. McKenzie, ‘a phony piece of morality’. I became a pacifist because I believe every human life is sacred and we have no right to kill each other.
Also I believe Jesus was a pacifist and when we deepen our love and compassion for all our brothers and sisters, it is not possible to torture or kill anyone, no matter who they are or what they do.
I agree with Fr. McKenzie when he writes ‘if we cannot know from the New Testament that Jesus rejected violence absolutely, then we can know nothing of Jesus’ person or message. It is the clearest of themes’. Sadly for l,700 Christian mainline churches have not believed taught or lived Jesus’s simple message, love your enemies, do not kill. For the first three hundred years after Christ the early Christian communities lived in total commitment to Jesus’ nonviolence.
Sadly during the last seventeen hundred years Christians have moved so far away from the Christic life of nonviolence that we find ourselves in the terrible dilemma of condemning one kind of homicide and violence whilst paying for, actively participating in or supporting homicidal violence and war on a magnitude far greater than what we condemn in others. There is indeed a longstanding defeat in our theology. To help us out of this dilemma, we need to hear the full gospel message from our Christian leaders.
We need to reject the ‘just war’ theology and develop a theology in keeping with Jesus’ nonviolence. Some Christians believe that the ‘just war’ theory can be applied and they can use violence, i.e., ‘armed struggle/armed resistance’ or by Governments to justify ongoing war, and it is precisely because of this ‘bad’ theology that we need from our Spiritual/Religious Leaders, a clear message and an unambiguous proclamation that violence is not the way of Jesus, violence is not the way of Christianity, and that armaments, nuclear weapons, militarism and war must be abolished and replaced with a more human and moral way of solving our problems without killing each other.
Since 9/ll the ‘war on terror’ by US/Nato forces continue to cause death and destruction, as Syria has become at least the 14th country in the Islamic world that US/Nato forces have invaded or occupied or bombed. I visited Syria with an international peace delegation both in 2013 and 2014 at the invitation of Patriarch Gregorios Latham and the Grand Mufti Dr.Ahmad Badr al Din Hassoun. We heard the appeals of all the Religious leaders and many Syrians for no outside intervention and for the Syrian people to be allowed to solve their own problems, through the path of peace and reconciliation. We listened to the stories of Syrian people whose country has been invaded by thousands of foreign fighters, paid, trained by outside Governments to fight a proxy war in Syria in order to bring down President Assad and Syrian government.
Also in an illegal attempt at regime change the funding of so called ‘moderate fighters’ by countries such as UK, USA,and some of their gulf allies, goes on today, and we the international community have a responsibility to demand the end of such illegal actions It is to the great credit of the Syrian Religious Leaders, from all faiths, and also members of the Secular community, that their efforts of peace and reconciliation saved their country from a similar fate as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and the ongoing wars by USA/Nato forces. (I believe Nato should be abolished and this should have been done when the Warsaw pact was abolished. Also the current increased militarization of Europe led by US/Nato risk a new cold war between East and West, and is against the wishes of the vast majority of people in Europe who recognize it is in all our interests to co-operate instead of confront, so we can all have better lives and above all survival).
The Religious/Spiritual Leaders from all faith traditions, and none, could raise their united voices against outside military intervention in these countries, and unite to denounce all forms of violence, religious fundamentalism, sectarianism, and to call for end to militarism and war. Religious/spiritual leaders meeting together in friendship and equality and calling for dialogue and reconciliation, can set an example to the Worlds Political Leaders, to end the politics and language of enmity, violence, threats and preparations for war.
As the world celebrated the falling of the Berlin Wall and the ‘cold war ‘it is important that World leaders such as President Putin , President Obama, join together to take bold steps to end militarism and war, which are our real enemies. Because people and countries have different perspectives, different politics and policies, does not mean they must become enemies and risk arousing the very dangerous emotions of fear and aggression, which can lead to violent conflict and war.
People of the world are tired of war, they want peace, and the money put into weapons and war diverted to meeting human needs and especially poverty. We live in a rich world but until our governments listen to the voices of the worlds people and Religious/Spiritual Leaders and change their policies, we cannot deal with all the threats we face as the human family.
For those elite who believe that military power is the controlling force off history, let us the people of the world unite to abolish armies and militaries in every country, and show that peaceful resolution to problems through disarmament and nonviolence is the controlling force of history.
Mairead Maguire www.peacepeople.com
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